#SkywayGames: Dexterous Play

by Skyway Library and PlaytestNW

Are you ready for Skyway Library and Playtest Northwest’s next Mini Game Days!? We’re not sure that you are, because March’s theme is Dexterity games! So get ready to stack, flip, balance, hook, and toss your way to victory! Saturday, March 24, 12-5pm!

PlaytestNW is an amazing regional network of game designers and community organizers trying to bring a love of tabletop games and game design to the masses! So having a regular PlaytestNW event at a local library just seemed like a perfect fit.

Skyway Library’s Mini Game Days will be an amazing chance to try out some local indie games, in all different levels of development. This is a great opportunity for the Southend community to talk to designers, get to know the DIY game design community here in Seattle, and maybe start to imagine the game you would design!

#SkywayGames is a monthly article the Skyway Library and PlaytestNW will be writing to get the South End community pumped about our upcoming Mini Game Days. Also, a place to highlight the great games and designers who will be bringing their games to Skyway Library! Here’s what games you will get to play on March 24!


Fishin’ Hole

Designer: Matthew Gravelyn

Recommended ages: 8+ (although kids as young as 4-5 have played and seem to like it)

Game length: About 20 minutes

Fishin’ Hole is a card-tossing game where players compete to bring home the catch of the day! It is fun and accessible for kids, but also appeals to adults looking for a fun filler game. Also, you”re encouraged to throw the cards!

When asked what the inspiration for Fishin’ Hole Gravelyn informed us, “Fishin’ Hole was originally designed for a Dice Hate Me design contest about dexterity games. I’ve loved fishing since I was young, and tossing the bait cards just made a lot of thematic sense. That was about 2 years ago, and I’m very close to finalizing the game design.”

“My first game design was when I was at the hospital after my son was born.” Gravelyn told us when asked about how he started designing games. “He was six weeks premature, so we were in the NICU for two weeks. To keep myself busy, I designed a press-your-luck dice game about making burgers, something I was eating a lot of in the hospital. The whole process was fascinating to me, and I’ve been tinkering with game design ever since.”

Fishin Hole

What Gravelyn loves about a tabletop game is that, “I can have new experiences via a game’s mechanics that I don’t get in real life. I can plant trees, trade stone, and fight monsters. Some games are really good about translating their mechanics into these feelings, something I tried to replicate with the tossing (casting) of bait cards in Fishin’ Hole.”

When are asked Gravelyn about what games he played growing up he let us know “We played the usual: Monopoly, Risk, Life. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20’s that I first played Catan, but that opened the floodgates. I love playing interesting, balanced, and thematic games, sometimes taking multiple hours.” So we asked him how games have changed since he was a kid. “I don’t think ‘games’ have changed, but I have definitely changed my tastes in games. There’s still lots of random chance games, what some call ‘American’ games, and those have a place. Now, however, I know about hobby board games and love that I can find games that are still easy to learn but rely on skill to win.”

And Gravelyn wants to thank the South End community for coming out to these events! “Thank you for coming out and helping us test our designs. Honest player feedback is one of the most valuable and, for designers with other job or family commitments, sometimes the hardest part of game design. I appreciate people taking the time to come and play our designs.”

Keep track of Gravelyn and Fishin’ Hole via his Twitter account!


T.A.G. That Acronym Game

Designers: Layla Lakos & Chris LaCroix

recommended ages: 9+

Game length: 20 minutes

You have one minute every round to come up with the funniest, coolest, wittiest, cleverest, everest acronym that you can. The judge decides whose acronym is the BEST (Best Ever Spoken TAG – haha get it?). The cards and dice guide which topics and letters you will use. TAG is a simple game that only gets more fun the more you play. It comes in a bag. It can go anywhere: the bar, the kitchen floor, next to the campfire. Anywhere a die can land. Endless variations, endless replay value. Unlike some games, there is no way to wear this one out. The only limit? Your imagination.

But don’t take our word for it, check out this rave review! “This game is crack for wordmeisters. Great for tapping into your inner creativity.”

When I asked Lakos what inspired this game she told me this very entertaining story. “A couple years ago, we were walking around Saratoga Springs and saw a telephone pole spray painted with the letters UFPO. It stands for Underground Facilities Protection Organization. We didn’t know that:

‘UFPO… What do you think that stands for?’

‘I don’t know, Unidentified Flying Peeing Object?’

‘Hah! Unidentified Flying Platypus Octopus.’

‘Wait, no, then you’ve identified it.’

‘Okay, so Unimportant Flying Platypus Octopus.’

‘Sounds good.’

‘Useless For Painting Orangutans’

‘Unicorns For Peace, Ohm!!’”

While Lakos and LaCroix “are not working on any other games right now, but we are generally inspired to create things that are useful and aesthetically pleasing. We really like watching SNL game show parodies.”

Don’t lose track of Lakos and LaCroix, and the functional and beautiful things they make! They are on Facebook and have an Etsy store, be sure to like and follow them!


A la Carte, Wok on Fire! and more…

Recommended ages 7+

Nicole is known for her love of food-themed games and will be bringing a couple of her favorite, published dexterity games from her collection to this month’s event.

A la Carte by Karl-Heinz Schmiel is a game that involves a playing with a miniature stove and spice containers. Players will take three actions a turn to carefully add spices and turn up the heat on their stove being careful to not burn or over season their dish. The player with the most cooked dishes at the end of the game wins!

Work on Fire! by Poki Chen Is a card-flipping game where players use spatula cards to stir, flip, and collect cooked ingredients from the wok. Certain ingredients will alter your final points. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins!

Both of these games are great for kids and families looking for a lighthearted card game to enjoy!

Please stay up to date on the amazing gaming events PlaytestNW does throughout the PNW on our website.

And to know what’s happening at Skyway Library please check out our events calendar.